Parmigianino Moves to the Getty, Jasper Johns Visits the Broad

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Thanks to media coverage, we are familiar with the formality of welcoming heads of states and royalty upon their arrival to the US. But, the question is, what would be the appropriate way to greet the arrival of a celebrity of even higher status? I can see your collective eyebrows go up in wonder.

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Virgin with Child, St. John the Baptist, and Mary Magdalene (about 1530-40) by
Parmigianino (Francesco Mazzola, Italian, 1503-1540)
Oil on paper, laid down on panel, 29 1/2 x 23 1/2 in. (75.5 x 59.7 cm)
Courtesy of Sotheby's

So, how about a Virgin and a baby Jesus, who, after 400 years of hiding in private European collections, got a chance to cross the Atlantic to find a permanent home in an American museum? I am talking about the rare painting by Italian Renaissance artist Parmigianino (1503-1540), "Virgin with Child, St. John the Baptist, and Mary Magdalene," an acquisition that was just announced by the J. Paul Getty Museum. I know, talking about Madonna and money is inappropriate, but hey, aren't we living in a Capitalist world? So, the number is slightly over $30 million. Wouldn't it be fabulous to see a video following this Madonna from Sudeley Castle, Gloucestershire, to London, boarding a plane, and arriving here to the City of Angels? But, don't rush to the Getty. It will take some time before the painting will be exhibited there, along with other Italian Renaissance masterpieces.

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(L) Jasper Johns, "Ventriloquist," 1983
Encaustic on canvas
Museum of Fine Arts Houston
© Jasper Johns / VAGA, New York / DACS, London 2017
(R) Jasper Johns, "Spring," 1986
Robert and Jane Meyerhoff Collection
© Jasper Johns / VAGA, New York DACS, London
Photo courtesy the National Gallery of Art, Washington

And, here is more great news for us Angelenos… and, this one, again, comes from Great Britain. A major retrospective of works by Jasper Johns is scheduled to arrive in LA in February - and this will be its only American appearance. One would imagine that an exhibition of such importance would be presented by LACMA, or MOCA. But, it is the Broad museum that had the gravitas, courage, and conviction to collaborate with the Royal Academy of Arts in London, where the six-decade survey of Johns' work will open in September. This Jasper Johns exhibition is a big win for the Broad, a private museum that is less than two years old.

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Installation view, "Reference" at ROSEGallery

Over the weekend, I checked out a new exhibition at ROSEGALLERY at Bergamot Station, where dozens of works by 20th century photographers were paired with reproductions of great paintings of the past. My favorite juxtaposition was a reproduction of a Renaissance profile portrait of a Lady in Red, with photographic portraits of women by Manuel Álvarez Bravo, Edward Weston, and William Eggleston, hung below. Just imagine a conversation between all these beauties when the lights are off and they are alone in the quiet gallery.

Now, my friends, I want to take you with me on a short tour of several artists' studios that I visited last week. If you've ever experienced such a visit, you know that even compared to exhibitions at galleries or museums, to see artists' works in their natural habitat is not just a privilege, it's a different level of understanding.

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Artist Lawrence Levy in his studio

Lawrence Levy invited me to his studio in Venice, where I saw his frescoes based on his own photographs. In a slow, meticulous process, he transfers his photographs onto wet plaster, and then adds a touch of color with paint. Some of his frescoes with images of Adam and Eve echo Renaissance paintings, but my favorites are based on his photographic portraits of homeless people, whom he meets in Venice.

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Artist Analia Saban in her studio

Analia Saban called me to suggest that I visit her Santa Monica studio, just before she sends a number of new works to Sprüth Magers gallery for her upcoming show there, opening on June 28. I have been familiar with her concrete sculptures that she breaks and folds in the most amazing and strangely satisfying way. Now, I've seen her paintings, which are actually created on an old-fashioned loom, weaving string and paint. I am looking forward to seeing these paintings at the gallery; though it won't be the same as seeing them next to the loom on which they were weaved.

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Studio of Lita Albuquerque, Malibu

And, last, but not least, take a look at our website, at a photo I snapped at Lita Albuquerque's studio in Malibu, where her sculptures and paintings greet you with intense hues of red and blue that you not only see, but swear you could hear and smell, as well.

All photos by Edward Goldman unless otherwise noted.



Benjamin Gottlieb